Glory glory! A positive (mostly) review for The Invasion!

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HappyAppy04
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Glory glory! A positive (mostly) review for The Invasion!

Post by HappyAppy04 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:06 am

I never thought I would see the day, but here's a mostly positive review for The Invasion.

The review has just the smallest of spoilers, if any at all:

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/32892

THE INVASION

When sitting down to watch The Invasion, it helps to not have read any of the press about its troubled production. I can only say that because I have read it, most recently in Entertainment Weekly’s recent Summer Preview issue. Injuries, re-shoots, and new directors, oh my!

The bad press, and info about just what scenes were being re-shot, or added, and why, informed my opinion about the film as I watched it, and it really shouldn’t have.

Because the flick is pretty good.

We all know by now that The Invasion is a remake (or re-imagining, or re-thinking, or reboot, or whatever the hell you want to call it) of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, set in the present-day United States. It is a cerebral, effective thriller that provides plenty of opportunities for your date to bruise your forearm (there’s my nod to Ebert) as Nicole Kidman spends the film trying to outsmart a very intelligent, and increasingly populous enemy.

They’re spores, people! At least that’s what they start out as, when a U.S. space shuttle re-enters the atmosphere and explodes over a large section of the eastern United States. But when those spores have a human host, the infected humans begin to speak slowly, deliberately, and menacingly. They also share what appears to be a group consciousness, a lack of emotion, and a desire to convert all of us. What happens after we’re all converted? World peace, apparently. And that would be bad.

The film builds nicely, as Kidman, a psychiatrist, notices more and more creepy occurrences starting to happen. A few of the neighborhood dogs begin attacking random strangers (a classic horror device – they KNOW!!), people begin speaking in the aforementioned monotone, and the shit really hits the fan when a creepy census taker arrives at her front door to ask her a few questions… At 11 in the evening.

Pretty soon, the whole world seems to be comprised of body snatchers, and those that aren’t are being hunted down, and converted, mostly by force. In the midst of this virtual carnival of paranoia, Kidman must try to find her son, and rescue him from the clutches of her estranged husband, who was one of the first people to have their bodies snatched. She is aided in this effort by a group of fellow doctors led by Daniel Craig and his Casino Royale poker buddy, Jeffrey Wright, who are working frantically on finding the source of the infection, and some way of stopping it.

There is also supposed to be a romance between Kidman and Craig, and that is one of the few elements of the film that doesn’t work. They simply do not have any chemistry together, and that is a shame, because when one character confesses their love for the other during a key scene, it has about the same impact as when Bruce Willis told Milla Jovovich that he loved her at the end of The Fifth Element. Like, “Oh, really?”

Their first date, a dinner party, provides one of the film’s best scenes, if only for the presence of the always entertaining Roger Rees, who simply does not get the amount of work that he deserves. Playing the kind of biting intellectual that he has become known for, a sort of Russian version of his Lord John Marbury from The West Wing, Rees playfully rips America, and human nature in general in a great speech about wars, crises and the atrocities that come with them. He doesn’t know it, but he is arguing the point of the alien life form that is about to begin taking over the world, and he advises her that the most shocking atrocities can be committed by anyone, under the right circumstances.

And Kidman will learn this firsthand, as by the end of the film, she has clawed, beaten, and deceived her way to survival. In one scene, she commits a cold-blooded murder in her attempt to escape, even though it is unclear whether the person she kills is one of the body-snatched, or just a guy trying to do his job.

There are some great moments here, including a moment on the subway when she learns that she’s not the only one who escaped, and a battle tactic that owes more than a little to Shaun of the Dead, but still manages to be fresh and suspenseful.

The film is intense from start to finish, with its in medias res opening sequence, to its closing action sequence (which, according to the bad press, is what got added in later), although it is strangely action-free for most of its running time. The story is told on a smaller, more intimate scale, right up to its aforementioned climax. It’s like Signs, (although that film did better with its character dynamics and emotional resonance) in the way it allows the situation and the characters to be what is ultimately frightening, not major special effects, gore, or explosions (unless you count some pretty scary projectile vomit).

The best special effects here are the actors themselves. With only a few exceptions (the aforementioned lack of chemistry between Kidman and Craig, and Kidman’s odd, detached demeanor during a creepy therapy session, when any other therapist would be visably horrified) the actors are able to create more horror with a few well-placed line readings, or looks, than they ever could with big CGI tentacles coming out of their bodies, or gigantic spaceships blowing skyscrapers to smithereens. When one character, one of the body-snatched, offers Nicole Kidman a cup of tea, which is obviously spiked with whatever is in the spores, the look on the actress’ face, and what happens afterward, will give you chills. It’s refreshing to have that done by solid acting alone, rather than big-budget special effects, and the tension feels earned.

The ending, however, does not. Or at least, it doesn’t completely strike the right note. It tries, and Jeffrey Wright’s last scene is a great zinger. But the very final scene, and the note it strikes, makes you wish there was about 30 seconds of movie left. It needs another beat, a look, a line, something that would put a period at the end of the sentence. Is it as disappointing a last scene as Starship Troopers, or War of the Worlds? Well, not quite, but it could definitely been done better. Especially after the emotional ride of the 2 hours preceding it.

But, all in all, The Invasion has more than enough thrills to justify getting a sitter, grabbing your old lady, and plunking down your hard-earned cash when it gets released later this summer. Just don’t read any press about it until after you’ve seen the movie. And if anyone offers you a cup of coffee, tea, milk, or soda, and hands it to you with a muted smile, just pretend to accidentally drop it on the floor, and then run screaming from the McDonald’s. Trust me. They’re everywhere
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Post by mad4dan » Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:03 am

Let me tell you just my two cents. I already have felt "that" lack of chemistry between Nicole Kidman and her screen partner. I don't know, I find her extremely beautiful but she looks somehow cold. Even with her Tom Cruise in "Eyes Wide Shut" I thought something was, yes, lacking.

Back to "The Invasion", how can a woman remain cold with Daniel Craig is universe's mystery to me but anyway, I do hope it isn't anything as horrible as with Chow Yun Fat and Jodie Foster in the remake of The King and I. I watched the movie and said, "c'mon Jodie, look at this incredibly charming asian, how can you stay stick like a piece of wood?"
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Nicole Kidman

Post by SheKnowsWhoIam79 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:30 pm

Nicole Kidman doesn't ever have chemistry with anyone. I cannot think of any movie where she has just sizzled with onscreen chemistry with anyone. And if you can't smoulder with Daniel Craig, then smouldering ain't for you.
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Post by DanielsPornStar » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:39 pm

You're so right, SheKnowsWhoIAm79! I'm sure Daniel could generate heat with a nine-day-old cabbage! :D But it's nice to hear nice things about him.

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Post by agrippina » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:50 pm

Hmm, maybe they've returned to original cut :wink: All the things that were regarded very negatively first time around were not mentioned at all here... Let's hope for the best!

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Post by Anglophile » Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:55 pm

After seeing those pictures in W Magazine and reading the article attached to them, I won't believe that no-chemistry bit until I see it with my own eyes.
Agrippina - "strangely action-free for most of its running time" sounds to me like they did return to the original cut. We'll see. :)
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Post by Laredo » Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:20 am

They just showed a clip from the film on entertainment tonight . Yeah !

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Re: Nicole Kidman

Post by Sophie » Sat Jun 09, 2007 1:02 am

SheKnowsWhoIam79 wrote:Nicole Kidman doesn't ever have chemistry with anyone. I cannot think of any movie where she has just sizzled with onscreen chemistry with anyone. And if you can't smoulder with Daniel Craig, then smouldering ain't for you.
There was chemistry between her and Jude Law in Cold Mountain, I thought they were great together.
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Post by Laredo » Sat Jun 09, 2007 1:35 am

I agree I thought they were good together in that movie. I don't really recall any film she has had a passionate affair in beside that one ...maybe Far and Away ... didn't do it for me.

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Post by Inoticed » Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:01 am

Anglophile wrote:After seeing those pictures in W Magazine and reading the article attached to them, I won't believe that no-chemistry bit until I see it with my own eyes.
Agree with you, I want to see it to believe it !
Did you see the video of the press conference for The Invasion ? DC and NK very natural, both gorgeous in their gray Tshirts, blond hair... Gosh, they are soo sexy together...

+ I think Nicole Kidman and Ewan Mc Gregor in Moulin Rouge had super chemistry, I'm on Kidman side, no way.
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Post by sharmaine » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:13 am

Yes - have to see for myself - DC did have some good things to say about Nicole in an off-handed sort of way.

I really do love Nicole Kidman as an actress - she's played some interesting roles. She and Ewan Macgregor were excellent in Moulin Rouge.

As for The King and I (I much prefer Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr).
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Post by Anglophile » Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:25 pm

laredo wrote:They just showed a clip from the film on entertainment tonight . Yeah !
They did? :D So how was it?
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Post by kittin~wiskerz » Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:18 pm

I'll have to see this before deciding if there is chemistry or not between DC and NK. She's a botox babe, so perhaps it only looks like she's lacking expression?? Who knows? They do look cute together in the press conference pics though!

I think this also appeals to me because I have a son similar in age to the little boy in the movie. The intensity of a mother protecting her child can't be toppped by much else. Add Daniel and the mix is dynamite!!
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Post by 007cheese » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:35 am

I expect they exaggerate. I doubt anyone, even a shoe box, wouldn't have chemistry with Daniel. I'm with you all, no judgement until I see the movie...although I'm not normally a thriller sort of girl.
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Ang
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Post by Ang » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:00 pm

kittin~wiskerz wrote:I'll have to see this before deciding if there is chemistry or not between DC and NK. She's a botox babe, so perhaps it only looks like she's lacking expression?? Who knows? They do look cute together in the press conference pics though!

I think this also appeals to me because I have a son similar in age to the little boy in the movie. The intensity of a mother protecting her child can't be toppped by much else. Add Daniel and the mix is dynamite!!
yeah Kidman has been known to overdo it with the freeze, I personally would prefer people to just get a bit liney, but I still really like her - reeeally looking forward to her playing bitchy Mrs Coulter in Golden Compass- and there was loads of chemistry between them in those pictures in the Interview magazine 8) . I'm not putting too much hope into this film what with all the messing about but it's all so subjective anyway, who's hot, who's not, whether they go well together.... I too will wait and see.

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